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NELA Principal Academy Harnessing the Power of a Focus Group


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This session explores the use of focus groups as powerful mechanism to elicit feedback from parents, teachers, students, and community members. In turn, the data collected can be used to inform data-driven decision making.

Participants will discuss how focus groups can be an effective way to collect information from stakeholders
Participants will learn to how to design focus group protocols and procedures
Participants will learn to how to conduct focus groups
Participants will learn how to analyze focus group data to

Published in: Education
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NELA Principal Academy Harnessing the Power of a Focus Group

  1. 1. Harnessing the Power of a Tricia Townsend
  2. 2. What is a Focus Group/Interview? A focus group is a small panel of persons selected for their knowledge or perspective on a topic of interest. A facilitator helps guide a discussion which identifies important ideas and experiences about a topic.
  3. 3. Why do a Focus Group/Interview? • Helps participants become a “part” of the school community • Capitalize on group synergy • Gather information from participants that goes beyond simple survey data • Develop a plan of action to address issues/information that surface
  4. 4. Designing a Focus Group
  5. 5. Design Process • Pick the topic – school culture; 1:1 conversion • Determine who will participate – Parents, teachers, students, community members • Develop 3-5 questions – Avoid simple “yes or no” questions – Consider QUALITY questions • “How well”…“How effectively”…“In what ways” • Select the format – homogeneous/heterogeneous
  6. 6. Design Process
  7. 7. Plan Your Own Focus Group • Select a topic that aligns to one of your goals • Which voices should be heard? • Determine 3-5 questions that you will ask • What format will you utilize?
  8. 8. Conducting a Focus Group
  9. 9. Beginning the Interview/ Focus Group • The first few moments in focus group discussion are critical. – must create a thoughtful, permissive atmosphere – provide ground rules, and set the tone of the discussion • Much of the success of group interviewing can be attributed to the development of this open environment. –Off the record is OK
  10. 10. Focus Group Video
  11. 11. Let’s Practice • Split into 4 groups of 5 • Share the topics you have selected • Determine which topic/questions your team will address • Select a facilitator and a note taker – Note Sheet Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
  12. 12. Analyzing Data from a Focus Group
  13. 13. • Aggregate Note Sheets • Look for patterns across different focus groups – What is similar? – What is different? • Quotes Data Analysis
  14. 14. Qualitative Analysis • Look for themes in the data • In Word or PDF- highlight using different colors • Report areas that recur in the data (common among most participants) • Look for important/representative quotes Data Analysis
  15. 15. •Access the mock qualitative data –Electronic •Focus Group Excerpt –Paper •Complete analysis individually •Group into distinct themes •Share with a partner •Share with the group Data Analysis
  16. 16. Disseminating Data from a Focus Group
  17. 17. Share your results • Which areas do you want to showcase? • Did you find any trends that were worth noting? • How will you share what you learned? • How will the information spur action?
  18. 18. For more information on interviews and focus groups…